The Story of the Lost Child: Neapolitan Novels, Book Four (Paperback)
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Here is the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery uncontainable Lila. In this book, life’s great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship, examined in its every detail over the course of four books, remains the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received books. But now, she has returned to Naples to be with the man she has always loved. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from Naples. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Yet somehow this proximity to a world she has always rejected only brings her role as unacknowledged leader of that world into relief.
Ferrante is one of the world’s great storytellers. With the Neapolitan quartet she has given her readers an abundant, generous, and masterfully plotted page-turner that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight readers for many generations to come.
Ann Goldstein is an editor at The New Yorker. Her translations for Europa Editions include novels by Amara Lakhous, Alessandro Piperno, and Elena Ferrante's bestselling My Brilliant Friend. She lives in New York.
Named TIME Magazine's #1 Book in it's "10 Best Fiction Books of 2015" list
Named one of the "10 Best Fiction Books of 2015" by The New York Times Book Review
Named one of the "10 Best Fiction Books of 2015" by People Magazine
Featured in the Wall Street Journal's list of "15 Books to Read This Fall"
Included as one of “30 blockbuster novels to look out for this fall” by Entertainment Weekly
Listed as one of Publisher Weekly's "Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2015"
Included in the Kirkus list of "21 Must-read Fall books"
Featured as one of the New York Times Book Review's "100 Notable Books of 2015"
Praise for The Story of the Lost Child
"Dazzling...stunning...an extraordinary epic."
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“It's spectacular, but you will only realize how spectacular The Story of the Lost Child is if you do not cheat. You must read the three earlier (also superb) Neapolitan Novels or the perfect devastation wrought by the conclusion of this last novel will be lost on you.”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air
“It is the exploration of the women’s mental underworld that makes the book so singular an achievement in feminist literature; indeed, in all literature.”
—Joan Acocella, The New Yorker
"This is Ferrante at the height of her brilliance."
—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
“Ms. Ferrante has in fact, for more than 20 years, written about female identity with a heft and sharpness unmatched by anyone since Doris Lessing.”
—The Wall Street Journal
"What words do you save? Here's your chance to bring them out, like the silver for the wedding of the first-born: genius, tour de force, masterpiece. They apply to the work of Elena Ferrante, whose newly translated novel "The Story of the Lost Child" is the fourth and final one of her magnificent Neapolitan quartet, a sequence which now seems to me, at least within all that I've read, to be the greatest achievement in fiction of the post-war era."
—Charles Finch, The Chicago Tribune
“We are dealing with masterpieces here, old-fashioned classics, filled with passion and pathos. [...] The sheer power of her books is a challenge to the chilly, dour craftsmanship of too many 21st century literary novels.”
—Joe Klein, TIME Magazine
"The saga is both comfortingly traditional and radically fresh, it gives readers not just what they want, but something more than they didn't know they craved...through this fusion of high and low art, Ms. Ferrante emerges as a 21st-century Dickens."
“Ferrante's accomplishment in these novels is to extract an enduring masterpiece from dissolving margins, from the commingling of self and other, creator and created, new and old, real and whatever the opposite of real may be. [...] Ferrante's voice is very much her own, but it's force is communal. Perhaps her quartet should be seen as one of the first great works of post-authorial literature."
—Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic
“Ferrante [. . .] adumbrates the mysterious beauty and brutality of personal experience.”
—Rachel Cusk, The New York Times Book Review
“[. . .] with her new novel, “The Story of the Lost Child,” Ferrante has written what I’d call a “city book,” a knowing and complex tale that encompasses an entire metropolis. The breadth of vision makes this final installment feel like the essential volume.”
—John Domini, The Washington Post
“This stunning conclusion further solidifies the Neapolitan novels as Ferrante's masterpiece.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Ferrante has created a mythic portrait of a female friendship in the chthonian world of postwar Naples.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Word of mouth launched this series, glowing reviews helped, and, eventually, a publishing phenomenon was born. The series’ conclusion is a genuine literary event.”
—Booklist (starred review)
Praise for The Neapolitan Novels
"Ferrante's Naples Quartet is anything but theater. It is the first genuine literary classic of the 21st century."
—The Huffington Post
“One of modern fiction’s richest portraits of a friendship.”
—John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR
“The Neapolitan Novels tell a single story with the possessive force of an origin myth.”
—Megan O’Grady, Vogue
“Elena Ferrante is one of the great novelists of our time… This is a new version of the way we live now – one we need, one told brilliantly, by a woman.”
—Roxana Robinson, The New York Times Book Review
“A strong sense of chiaroscuro characterises the tetralogy: the thuggish violence of the Neapolitan stradone, the political activism of the “years of lead”, the corruption at every level of society.”
—Jane Shilling The Evening Standard (UK)